Energy Transition

Context:  In the upcoming G20 forum, India is planning to propose a multiple energy pathways approach to accommodate the diverse contexts and development trajectories of countries.
  • The diversity of India’s States, which necessitates multiple pathways, will determine its own domestic energy transition.
Probable Question: Q. States are critical actors in India’s energy transition as meeting India’s energy transition targets would be incomplete without involvement of states at policy formulation and implementation level. Discuss the need of a state level framework for energy transition.
 What is energy transition?
  • The energy transition is a continuing process requiring long-term energy strategies and planning, with a country-tailored focus on applying appropriate energy technologies to reach net-zero emissions.
India’s global climate pledges:
  • 50% non fossil electricity generation capacity by 2030
  • Net ­zero emissions by 2070
  • Installing 500 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity
  • Reducing the emissions intensity of its economy by 45%
  • Reducing a billion tonnes of CO2
Importance of States in energy transition:
  • Spheres of implementation: 
    • States are critical to the realisation of national targets as they are the implementation agencies.
    • While the Centre may set goals the realisation of these goals often depends on how they are aligned with State priorities and capabilities.
  • State political economy: 
    • The legacy issues in the electricity sector, such as high losses, unreliable supply and service quality, if left addressed, could be exacerbated by the transition.
    • These are embedded in the State political economy and must be addressed at the State level.
  • Laboratories of policy innovations: 
    • States as laboratories of policy innovations have been instrumental to India’s energy transition.
      • For example: PM KUSUM is an adoption of successful State experiments on the solarisation of agriculture at a national scale.
  • Aligning national and state goals: States could also be roadblocks to national goals, particularly when the goals are perceived to be misaligned with State priorities.
  • Regionally balanced energy transition:
    • Currently, only Gujarat, Karnataka, and Rajasthan met their individual renewable energy targets.
    • Moreover, about 80% of the current renewable energy capacity is confined to Six states in the west and south of India.
Central mandates to states for coordination:
  • Update the State Action Plans on Climate Change.
  • Set up State Level steering committees for energy transitions.
  • Regular meetings of the Central and state energy ministers.
Importance of a State Level framework for an energy transition:
  • It will help to broaden the transition discourse from a narrow set of outcomes and to include the processes that shape the outcomes.
  • It would lead to better understanding of the effects of transitions on transparency and accountability in processes, and affordability and reliability of services, particularly what works under what conditions.
  • It will lead to greater transparency which could enable participation of stakeholders in the processes and ensure public legitimacy and buy­in to complex decisions.
  • Seeing the energy transition through State preparedness would create a greater sensitivity to State Level diversities on priorities, capacities, and opportunities in the national policy discourse.
  • It will enable more evidence based policy choices towards a pragmatic, yet accelerated, scale and pace of energy transition.
Measures for the meaningful participation of states:
  • Multidimensional engagement: Centre should engage with diverse State contexts, capabilities, and priorities, availability of techno-economic options, fiscal space, and social and political imperatives of different States.
  • Holistic policy discourse: Cross sectoral inter­linkages should be recognised in the policy discourse.
    • For example, analysing how electric vehicle penetration and urbanisation will affect energy demand patterns or how promotion of transport modal shifts and green buildings can enable the energy transition.
  • An effective transition will require bridging the ambitions and implementation gaps between the Centre and the States.
  • Simultaneously, national ambitions need to factor the varying incentive structures, processes, and institutional capacities at the State level.
Source: The Hindu

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